Pro-lifers pray by the second station [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
On Good Friday, April 22, the Pro-Life Action League hosted the 4th annual “Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion” service at Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois.
What started as a light drizzle turned to a serious downpour as Eric Scheidler, his son Sam and I staked our pictures of each of the 14 stations around the vacant lot across the street from the Planned Parenthood facility.
A good crowd of pro-lifers had gathered before we arrived and were praying near the clinic, and people continued to trickle in as we prepared to begin the service. As he has in several previous years, Fr. Cesar Pajarillo of St. Rita of Cascia parish in Aurora joined us to lead the prayers.
New Prayer Books and a Huge Crowd
I was particularly excited as I had redesigned the prayer books we use for the service and was eager to get the freshly printed books into pro-lifers’ hands. You can download a copy of the new book to use for your own prayers at your local clinic here. Though the Way of the Cross is a Catholic devotion originally, this version is designed to be prayed by Christians of any tradition.
The file is a PDF that’s meant to be printed double sided and saddle stapled down the middle. If you’re not sure how or don’t have the equipment, your local Kinkos should be able to do it for you.
By the time we started the service a sizable crowd had gathered that grew to over 120 people by the end of the service, including a group of pro-life young people from Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust who were passing through town on a pro-life tour. The sight of more and more pro-lifers joining these prayers remembering Jesus’ death and suffering even on a busy day like Good Friday and in the pouring rain was truly an inspiration.
Sufferings of Jesus and the Suffering of Abortion
Huge crowd of pro-lifers pray the way of the cross [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
As we made our way through each station remembering Jesus’ sufferings and the small consolations He received along the way, the prayers reminded us of the terrible suffering of the babies, the mothers and even the abortion workers and called us to lift all of them up to the One who had suffered so much for us.
At the conclusion of the Way of the Cross, everyone soaked to the skin, Fr. Cesar gave us his blessing and Eric encouraged the pro-lifers to make their involvement at Planned Parenthood more than just a yearly event, but to join the critical ongoing clinic witness effort of prayer and sidewalk counseling. For me and everyone I spoke with after the service, the prayers and the presence of so many good pro-life people was a great encouragement and a special boost for the end of Holy Week.
Other groups have employed this powerful technique of walking the way of Jesus’ Passion outside the abortuary, including a group in Virginia Beach, Virginia and a huge crowd in Minneapolis. Check out their stories and consider bringing the Way of the Cross to your local abortion facility next year.